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Bengaluru pubs anxiously wait for state government to denotify city highways


In a huge relief to pubs, bars and star hotels in Bengaluru, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday that state governments can denotify stretches of national highways that pass through city municipal limits, which will eliminate those parts from coming under the purview of the ban of alcohol shops within 500 metres of highways. While the news comes as a big relief, especially to pub owners and patrons, all is not well yet, since the official process is a cumbersome one that has to pass through multiple levels of permissions and paperwork, and is expected to take time, leaving the owners anxious and impatient.

Biswa Bhusan, General Manager at a popular pub chain in Koramangala and Rest House Road, says, “Ever since the news broke out on Tuesday evening, we’ve been at the restaurant through the night, even making calls and trying to figure out how we can help in expediting the process. It’s good news for sure, but we can’t really say when it will be announced here. A lot of paperwork is involved in denotifying such highways, so we understand it’ll take time. But having already lost a lot of business, and with an influx of queries and reservations from our patrons ever since SC’s latest update, we’re anxiously waiting for the decision to be made official soon so we can start serving alcohol.”
The last five days have been trying times for pubs in the city that have been affected by the highway liquor ban — a drastic drop in business, pubs converted into coffee shops and the like. “Resto-pubs can get by selling their food, but for pubs like ours, alcohol is our main business. The business we do on four weekends in a month is as much or more than what we make from all the weekdays in the same month. And if you take July this year, it has five weekends. So, normally, while we would’ve made more money than usual this month, we’ve already lost out on one weekend. And July is generally a good time of the year for our business — that summer to monsoon transition period. Not this year’s July, unfortunately,” adds Biswa.
Source: Times of India

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